Less frequent testing for cervical cancer is recommended in 2 separate proposed guidelines.
1. One from the United States Preventative Services Task Force (USPTF), and 2. Other from the American Cancer Society (ACS); working in collaboration with the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology (ASCCP); and the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP).
Proposed ACS/ASCCP/ASCP Guidelines
The proposed guidelines from the ACS/ASCCP/ASCP contain several changes from the existing guidelines, as outlined below, which will result in women undergoing fewer tests during their lifetime.
The changes include:
- Instead of beginning screening 3 years after starting sexual intercourse, the new starting age will be 21 years. This applies equally to women who have and have not been vaccinated against HPV.
- Pap testing (conventional or liquid based) is recommended every 3 years for women 21 to 29 years of age. This replaces the current recommendation for annual testing with a conventional Pap test or testing every 2 years with a liquid-based Pap test.
- Pap testing is recommended every 3 years for women 30 years and older, although the preferred strategy is Pap testing plus HPV testing every 3 to 5 years.
- It is recommended that women who have had normal results on 3 Pap tests in a row, or if over the past 10 years there have not been any abnormal Pap tests and 2 or more HPV tests have been negative, testing can be stopped at 65 instead of 70 years of age.
In addition, the draft ACS/ASCCP/ASCP document states that there is insufficient evidence to recommend for or against a comprehensive program for primary screening with HPV testing alone.
New Proposed USPSTF Guidelines
Similarly, the draft document from the USPSTF recommends:
- no screening in women younger than 21 years of age, regardless of sexual history
- screening with Pap tests every 3 years in women 21 to 65 years of age
- no screening in women older than 65 years of age who have had adequate previous screening and who are not otherwise at high risk for cervical cancer.